The root cause of addiction tends to stem from a traumatic experience like the passing of a parent, an attack, or even combat-related experiences. The trauma may not initially spark the addiction. In fact, it may first manifest through other mental illnesses like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, when left untreated, mental health disorders can be a gateway to addiction or substance use disorder (SUD).
We often talk about how, through holistic and clinical approaches to treatment, people can begin to learn how to cope healthily. However, another alternative way to learn how to cope with addiction, SUD, and mental illness is through creativity. The ability to channel trauma and negative energy into a positive, creative outcome may take some practice. Yet, when done effectively, channeling that energy into creativity can reap many beautiful creations.
You can slowly begin to turn your pain, suffering, and illness into an inspirational and beautiful trauma.
The Healing Powers of Creativity
At its core, creativity exists as a means for us to express ourselves in an array of different channels. For some, this includes artistic or musical expression – painting, dancing, or singing. Others may channel their creativity through writing stories and creating worlds from their imagination.
The most common myth when it comes to creativity is that to be creative, you have to be artistic. That could not be further from the truth. The words creative and artistic are often used interchangeably, but the reality is, we need to be creative in every aspect of our lives, whether it’s in our relationships, working environment, or in recovery.
The ways creativity can help in recovery are endless. Early on in treatment, creative outlets help individuals to communicate feelings that are difficult to express, like guilt, shame, or fears. In expressing those emotions, you also learn to regulate them, which is why treatments like music or art therapy can be so effective in treating mental illness. It can help to significantly reduce stress giving you the freedom to worry less about what you can’t control and focus on your path to recovery.
Creativity will also help you process trauma. The appeal of substance use is that it’s numb are the bad feelings we do not want to feel. Unfortunately, it numbs the good ones too. By exploring a creative outlet instead of self-medicating, we learn to process trauma and how we feel about it healthily and get to experience the joys too.
Finding Your Creative Outlet
Discovering a creative outlet that piques your interest can be an exciting process. You can experiment and try new things, which is sometimes the most fun of all. Many individuals may already be writers, artists, or musicians but abandoned their craft upon becoming victims of their addiction. The recovery process is about rediscovering who you are, which means rediscovering your passions too. You may even discover new passions along the way.
Those who are still unsure of where their passions lie may have some more discovering to do. This is where the fun, experimental part kicks in. Start by making a list of anything that has piqued your interest, but you never got around to trying. That might mean buying an easel for painting or trying your hand at writing a poem. Consider signing up for an online class to learn a language you are interested in or find places to volunteer upon leaving treatment. The number of ways to channel your negative feelings is endless. It’s all about finding the right way for you.
How the Ohana Can Help
The beauty of a treatment program at The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center is that we can offer you the time and space to bring your creative pursuits to life. Part of our goal is to teach our clients daily routines, practices, and techniques to help them maintain their recovery well after leaving the island. That means teaching them mindfulness, meditation, and the importance of carving out time each day to focus on their recovery and mental health. During this time, we can help teach you the time management skills necessary to make fostering your creativity not just a dream but a reality.
Our job is to ensure you return with the support of this ohana and the tools needed to stay in recovery. One of those tools is the ability to channel negative energy, triggers, trauma, and temptations into a productive, creative outlet. You can start your recovery adventure with us today, and together we’ll create something wonderful out of trauma.